Aussies debate whether Australia should introduce a smoking ban similar to New Zealand
| Last updated
Australia is now debating whether the nation should implement a ban similar to its trans-Tasman neighbour New Zealand.
Aotearoa recently introduced new legislation that will prevent anyone born after 2008 from buying cigarettes.
The Kiwis are committed to being smoke-free by 2025.
Tobacco control researcher Kathryn Barnsley said that in the wake of New Zealand’s new law, Australia may now follow suit.
She revealed one state Down Under that could be the first state to follow in its footsteps.
"Smokers clog up the hospital system, and with so much pressure on hospitals, states will be looking to reduce that."
According to the outlet, Dr Barnsley’s research shows that around 70 per cent of Aussie non-smokers would support a similar prevention act to New Zealand’s.
But of course, the tobacco industry would rally against it
Dr Barnsley said: "When you kill a large percentage of your customers, your survival relies on recruiting new ones."
University of Wollongong Associate Professor of Medicine Rowena Ivers said that while Australia has led the world in smoking prevention, more needs to be done.
The qualified doctor told newsGP: "Australia has actually led the world in terms of tobacco programs and we have seen smoking rates drop.
"[But] to some extent it seems to have plateaued, where there is a hardcore of continuing smokers. I think that we need to consider the options [from the New Zealand Plan]."
However, Chair of Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) Specific Interests Addiction Medicine Dr Hester Wilson told the outlet that while he welcomes the new laws, he questions the impact on e-cigarettes.
"Where does this then put e-Cigarettes? We are seeing young people taking up e-Cigarettes because they’re ‘cool’," Dr Wilson said.
"And yes, it probably is less harmful. But there are concerns about what [the New Zealand proposals] do around the choices that people make."
Following the announcement of New Zealand’s bid to prevent people under the age of 14 from ever buying cigarettes, associate health minister Ayesha Verrall said she hopes to make the entire country smoking-free by 2025.
According to the Daily Mail, Dr Verrall said: "While smoking rates are heading in the right direction, we need to do more, faster to reach our goal.
"If nothing changes, it would be decades before Maori smoking rates fall below five per cent and this government is not prepared to leave anyone behind."
The new law is expected to be enforced at the end of 2023.